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Recognizing the Spins

While they may be less "exciting" than jumps, spins are an essential part of any good freeskating program. Spins add the balance and beauty that makes the program appealing. Spins are identified according to the position achieved by the skater while spinning. There are as many variants of the spin as there are people to imagine them, but they all fall into one of 3 basic categories based on their spinning position -- upright, sit, and camel.

As with jumps, most spinners spin in a counterclockwise direction, and these descriptions assume a counterclockwise spinner. As it is for jumps, if you are looking at a clockwise spinner, swap the feet in the descriptions. Most skaters spin in the same direction that they jump.

Note that spins are called "forward" spins or "backward" spins. This has nothing to do with the direction of rotation, but rather which foot the skater is on while spinning. For a conventional (counterclockwise) spinner, a forward spin is performed on the left foot, and a backspin is performed on the right foot. For most skaters, backspins are more difficult.

Spins present the skater with endless opportunities for variety and innovation. Each of the 3 major POSITIONs (upright, sit, camel) can have variation in the details of that position (where are the arms, where are the legs, etc). Each spin can be performed either forwards (left foot) or backwards (right foot). The entry to a spin can be forward or backward; you can change edges within a spin (did you know that spins had a rotating edge???). The sit and camel positions can be entered either directly, or from a "flying" entry (basically the skater "jumps" into the spin). Like jumps, spins can be performed "solo" or in combination. A spin combination is a spin which changes position, or changes foot (or both) while the skater continues to rotate.

What do judges look for??

When judging a spin, the judge looks primarily at the quality of the position(s) attained, the number of revolutions achieved, and the quality of the "center" (does it stay in one place on the ice?).

For instance, relative to position -- for a sit spin, lower is better; for a camel spin, higher is better; on a layback more arch is better. In all cases, a position which includes an attractive blending of arms, hands, legs, and body is better. On rev counts, in all cases, more is better. Note that judges don't start counting revs until the spin position is attained (centering revs don't count, revs while you're struggling to get into that Biellman position don't count...). In IJS events, a position is not counted unless it has at least 2 full revolutions. The spin's "center" refers to the degree to which it stays in one place while spinning. A spin which "travels" across the ice is less attractive (and less correct) than one which stays well centered.

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